Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘A Nation Divided’ Category

Unplanted seeds, left to shrivel in the heat of the sun and harsh winter winds, never accomplish their purpose—to reproduce. They must be planted in fertile soil, watered, and allowed to grow in the light of God’s purposes.

Spring 2016 BB 4

A little less than two weeks from now we will celebrate Mother’s Day. And if you’ve lost your mom or your child, I’m sure you’d like to blot this date from your calendar. But would that do any good? It certainly wouldn’t make your grief disappear.

This special holiday offers each one of us the opportunity to collect the fragments of our grief—be they a basketful or a loaded dump truck—and ask… Father, what do You want me to do with this tsunami of grief?

A number of years ago I was rereading the account of Jesus feeding the 5,000.  And in the middle-of-my-muddle His words jumped off the page:

“And when they were filled, He said to His disciples, ‘Gather up the leftover fragments that nothing may be lost.’ And so, they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves, which were left over by those who had eaten” (John 6:12-13 NAS).

The first time Jesus fed a multitude after He blessed and broke five loaves and two fishes. He also gave His disciples twelve baskets to collect the leftovers…so nothing would be wasted.

I’m sure you’re thinking, what has this got to do with my grief and Mother’s Day? But if our Lord Jesus instructed his disciples to scoop up crumbs of bread and stinky fish—might He want you to gather the crumbs and stinky emotions of your overwhelming grief and bring them to Him also?

God doesn’t waste anything—especially grief!

After the loss of a loved one, crumbs of shattered lives lay scattered around us. And we just don’t have the ability to look beyond our pain—but Jesus does.

How can God ever use anything as dark and ugly as what I’m going through? Which way do I turn? Where do I go? My life is over.

No, your life isn’t over…it’s going to be different. And we don’t like change. But Jesus scoops up the cracked pieces of your life, if you’ll let Him, and places them back on His potter’s wheel where He repairs, integrates, and reshapes each one of us into new vessels. By the power of His love, the warmth of His hands, and the pain we’ve experienced, He changes pride into humility, anger into hope, and rampant sorrow into comfort and love.

 

Then He certifies everyone He’s repaired. “…comforting us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God(I Corinthians 1:4 NAS).

dscf3402

 

Yes, God has already planted seeds of comfort in you…but you must allow Him to water and fertilize them… let His grace penetrate and soften all those deep dark corners where your fear, doubt, pain, anger, and loneliness hide.

This seemingly endless grief journey has taught me lessons I could never have learned any other way. Jesus took those wretched fragments of grief after Michelle’s death, and made a whole new me. It didn’t happen overnight, but as I opened my clenched fists, and allowed Him to transform the raging storm of my emotions, He brought His light into my darkness. His order out of my chaos. And His peace in the midst of my pain.

I’m so thankful God didn’t abandon me outside the hospital room that night. Nor did He turn His back and walk away during those years of my ugly rage and crushing sorrow.  And He won’t abandon you either.

Stormy skies

God never wastes anything—even dark, ugly moments of grief. In those first Mother’s Days, when I was numb with my own pain, He whispered in my ear…send Mother’s Day cards to other mothers who are without their children or their mothers. And though I didn’t realize it…encouraging them, encouraged me.

Now it’s your choice—His light or your darkness. His comfort or your anger. His love and mercy or your doubt and fear. His peace or your pain. Of course, you will miss your mom, your child, or whoever you lost. And you will have moments of deep sorrow, but God is continually in the process of bringing good out of your debilitating loss—if you’ll let Him.

God will transform your life. He will turn you into a conduit of His mercy and grace so you can pour out the comfort you’ve received on others about to enter this dismal journey. And the example of your peace will shine the light of His grace and glory into their long, dark tunnel through grief.

Seelings 1 closeup

So, don’t quit. Don’t run away…and please don’t waste your grief this Mother’s Day! Allow God to water the seeds of grace and joy in your heart. Seeds He will bring to life in the moments He sends you to comfort someone He knows needs your help.

“There are only two things I can do in respect to God in a time of grief: I can move toward Him or I can move away from Him.”    

                                                Dr. Paul David Tripp

http://www.griefshare.org

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Traveling life’s road, you’re either inside or outside the boundaries. There is no middle ground despite what’s blared on the news and in social media, taught in classrooms, and whispered by those who seek to deceive and destroy America.

1181 Gates and shadows

People speak of fence sitting, but this ole’ Texas gal who’s climbed over many-a-fence, can tell you it’s impossible to straddle that fence more than a minute or two before choosing which way I’m gonna jump. And your life’s like that too.

When my brother or I were aggravated about her boundaries, Mama always said—Fences are not built to keep kiddos inside, but to keep the bad stuff out. But the Z’s and Millennial generations throw up their hands and shout while catapulting over the boundaries God set—to a different place they’ve been led to believe is life at its best. And it appears to be…until the consequences of living outside of God’s Word ensnares and traps ’em in desperate and sometimes fatal wrong choices.

Texas is a land of fences of every make and description—boundaries. Safety zones. Zones that denote who and what belongs to whom. There is security and safety inside the fence. Outside is the highway; and for any stray foolish enough to find a lose rail and slip through, there is disaster—not only for the escapee, but often also for the highway traveler.

Black and white with sign

God warns His people throughout the Old Testament, “Do not move the ancient boundaries” (Proverbs 22:28, 23:10).  And those stubborn, rebellious folks couldn’t wait to leap over His delineated lines of behavior and be like the pagan nations—just like we do. Why do we find it necessary to test His limits? Is it a lack of trust in who He is? A genetic malfunction in our spirits, a fleshly body that always hollers “gimme, gimme, gimme?” The answer is a resounding YES!

But there is also another dimension to this boundary issue…whether you believe it or not…his name is Lucifer—Satan—the devil. He’s the first created being who chose to defy God, and he influenced one-third of the heavenly hosts to side with him. This created being decided he was bigger and better than God. Was he? Of course not, but over the ages he’s deceived and convinced great multitudes from every nation to agree with his lies.

Growing up in the generation between The Greatest Generation and the Baby Boomers, we were taught to use our brains, not a calculator. We had to read a road map, not follow a GPS. I learned to type on a manual typewriter, and Mama required my brother and I to mow the lawn—with a push mower. We were taught the Word of God at home and at school. Think about it, our brains, our reasoning, our hands, and our bodies learned to work, with God’s help, to make it through each day. There was no time spent in front of a wide screen, acting and reacting to make-believe war games and questionable mind-changing deceptions.

Southern trial fence and BB

But parents, absorbed with making enough money to purchase all the stuff that calls us from outside the boundaries, have allowed our children to be taught there is no such thing as absolute truth. No such thing as a holy God who demands righteous obedience to His law and His Son. So consequently, our kids have little difficulty rejecting boundaries God set to protect them, choosing instead to attempt to live in a middle ground vacuum that doesn’t exist. And many adults, even church members, dwell in that fantasy middle ground too.

Think about this, in the pre-civil war era, when the drum beats of slavery vs. freed men was debated in the south, churches chose to straddle the fence, because many of their members—  tithers, were slave owners, rather than come down on the side of the Word of God and this nation’s Constitution, which states—“All men are created equal. Endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights…” You know the rest of this quote. And being unable to dwell in that middle-ground-straddling-the-fence-vacuum, the southern churches silently slid into the quagmire of pro-slavery…because of money, greed, and the deception they couldn’t make it without their slaves.

Today there are debilitating national lies attempting to lure us to believe we can live and drive our stake in middle ground territory. Those who lift their self-righteous heads and smooth their fine apparel while sitting in church on Sunday morning, above and avoiding the fray. But there is no middle ground with God or His people where the sanctity of marriage is concerned. No middle ground in sodomy and homosexuality. No middle ground for almost 70 million and counting babies lost to abortion. No middle ground in vicious racism, even within the halls of our nation’s government. No middle ground in the battle between The Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of Satan. And folks, these are the issues fueling the battle in America today, whether you believe it or not.

One side will win these national battles. And one side will lose. It’s our choice.

But remember, there is no middle ground. Like those pre-Civil War citizens, you too will be forced to choose. Best be sure your choice is in line with what God says…not your congressman, your neighbor, or your BFF.

“But He knows the way I take; when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot has held fast to His path; I have kept His way and not turned aside. I have not departed from the command of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:10-12 NAS).

Road 660 Ennis

I am ever grateful for America’s founding fathers who believed and lived in the green pastures of the boundaries of the Word of God—the place of His mercy and grace, in the peace of His presence. And I am praying for God’s mercy and intervention with a life and nation changing Holy Spirit Revival in a United States of America.

How about you? Where do you reside? In the shifting sands of the vaporizing middle ground or within the boundaries of our eternal, all powerful Lord God Almighty?

 

Read Full Post »

Information every caregiver of an Alzheimer’s patient must know, by my friend and author Kathleen Brown.

Alzheimer's: Hope and Help for Caregivers

“Depression is never normal.”  

Not even for someone with dementia.

In the most recent series of posts, we’ve been spotlighting some “what-ifs”: the sudden questions that can blindside caregivers as they contemplate what challenges the future might hold. Today, however, we’re taking a side trip to look at the issue of depression and the impact it can have on a loved one with Alzheimer’s.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, it’s not uncommon for people with Alzheimer’s to be depressed, especially in the early and middle stages of the disease. In fact, the Association says, “Experts estimate that up to 40 percent of people with Alzheimer’s disease suffer from significant depression.”

IMG_2393

And yet, “depression is never normal.”Shortly after I became Mom’s caregiver, I heard those words from well-known Dallas-area geriatric psychiatrist Dr. David Crumpacker. He was addressing a group gathered in a comfortable public room at an assisted living…

View original post 513 more words

Read Full Post »

 

Meander Scar 1

“A meander scar, occasionally meander scarp,[1] is a geological feature formed by the remnants of a meandering water channel. They are characterized by “a crescentic cut in a bluff or valley wall, produced by…a meandering stream…Meander scars are caused by the varying velocities of current within the river channel. Due to higher velocity current on the outer banks of the river through the bend, more erosion occurs causing the characteristic steep outer slopes.[1] In certain habitats, if the scar has sufficient water, or as an oxbow lake fills with sediment, these areas may become marshes or wetlands.”

Wikipedia

I love words. Of course I do, I’m a writer. But when I ran across the words “meander scar” in my son’s Texas text book, being a sand-in-my-shoes Florida girl, I was bumfuzzled. I’d never heard those two words linked together before.

Now, for the past thirty years I’ve become a Texas gal, and I’ve seen boo-coddles of meander scars, ‘cause we have multitudes of flash floods out here. Raging walls of water that carve new pathways through whatever is in their way.

Tornadoes and spring storms feed these flash floods and scar the landscape with their zig-zag slashes. A number of years back one of these rogue storms transformed the normally quiet Guadalupe River into a water butcher, sculpting, and slashing new paths through the Texas Hill Country.

Along the Guadaloupe River

Now a scar by definition is a blemish, deformity, defect, or disfigurement. And left in their raw state, scars are often unsightly. But did you ever consider how many times our hearts, minds, and bodies suffer turbulence from flash floods of grief, relational pain, or consequences of diseases that leave meandering scars carved inside and outside our bodies?

 

The Word of God says: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren…whom He called He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified” (Romans 8:28-30 NAS).

Meander Scar 4

 

Just like God transforms those ugly meander scars in the landscape, He promises to transform the scars inflicted in your mind, body, and heart, if you’ll let Him. And like Texas in the springtime heals and blossoms with the beauty of His handiwork, transforming those deep, ugly gashes in the land into multi-dimensional layers of spectacular photo opportunities, the Spirit of the Living God will heal, transform, and cover your scars with His mercy, His grace, and His love. He will turn you into a multi-dimensional vessel, assigned to pour love, mercy, and grace onto a lost dying neighborhood, town, nation—yes, even the world.

 

Spring 2016 BB 2

 

“And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is. Because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27 NAS).

 

This Spring I’m off on another road-trip to locate and photograph those bluebonnet-covered meander scars. But for the past sixteen years God has been softening and transforming my own scars from the death of my daughter and my parents through my participation in the Grief Share ministry. How does He accomplish this restoration? By pointing those new to this journey through the valley of the shadow of death to Jesus, then watching them blossom as He heals and transforms them too.

bb fence and blossoms 2a

Are you allowing God to transform and heal your scars? He will, you know, but first you must acknowledge your need, come to Him, thank Him for who He is, ask His forgiveness for your sin of unbelief. Ask for His healing and His peace. Then rest in Him to perform the miracle of new birth in you.

 

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him” (John 3:16-17 NAS).

 

Read Full Post »

WAITING

It’s been almost a year since I wrote and published this post. And look what a year has brought. Yes, we have a new president. One who came to power only by the grace and mercy of our God. A man who, if we unite as one nation under God, may swing this nation back to faith in trust in our Creator. But the large, silent majority in this nation must rejoin the battle rather than snoozing through the P.C. stupor.

MOVING THE ANCIENT BOUNDARIES

Today’s world is instant everything. No waiting. From fast food, microwaves, Keurig’s, iPhones, computers, the list is endless. Waiting takes patience; and patience seems to be a fruit of the Spirit we no longer deem important.

McDonalds

So what causes your toe-to-tap this morning? Tell the truth—shame the devil. The long line at McDonalds when you’re late? A spouse who can’t seem to get his/her act together? Lazy kids? A promotion at work? A neglected raise in your paycheck?  A new house? A new car? Your children to grow up and attain the level of success you ask? Or a kajillion other must haves on your list of life’s most importants?

But look around. Are all these things the reason for success? Or are we missing the point—the eternal point? Dr. Tommy Nelson, ThD in Lewisville, Texas, writes:

“History goes this way: What one generation resists, the next will allow. What…

View original post 753 more words

Read Full Post »

via Toe Jammers

Read Full Post »

Come by and visit with Rene and myself on the Diamond Mine of Fiction and leave a comment to win a copy of either Roped or Twisted.

I believe in showing the good, the bad, and the ugly as well as the consequences those choices bring.
diamondsinfiction.blogspot.com

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: